Whenever you receive this, today, tomorrow, or after Christmas, I pray that the Hope and Promise of Christmas will be yours, now and every day, until our wonderful savior returns to take us home.
I can’t say I have any wise or new thoughts to share with you as we celebrate Christmas. My guess is that for many of you – like me – this has been a difficult time of year. When I think about it though, maybe that’s a good thing.
Difficulties help us discover what is really important
For me, this holiday has been particularly challenging. It is hard to be in the “holiday spirit” when there is a new nationwide lockdown scheduled for next week, when “peace on earth” seems farther away than ever, and when holiday celebrations are forcibly limited by rules and regulations that are suffocating us all.
More than ever before, I’ve had to separate the meaning of Christmas from the holiday. That is helping me because it is the meaning of Christmas that lasts. What is it the angels said to the shepherds?
A Savior is born to you today in the city of David, who is Messiah the Lord.Luke 2:11
A Savior, our Messiah, our Lord
I learned something new recently. It seems that recent research and archeological discoveries indicate that the shepherds of Bethlehem did not watch over any old sheep. Rather, they were watching over special sheep – the perfect unblemished ones intended for Temple sacrifice. These sheep needed special care and had to be kept from any harm, disfigurement, or injury.
Think of it – the announcement of the birth of Jesus was made to shepherds whose job it was to raise, nourish, and protect the lambs for sacrifice. To them the angels appeared with a very special announcement. I am sure that they did not understand, at that moment, when they rushed to see the baby, that He would become the perfect Lamb of God – for them, for you, and for me.
But that is what happened.
Suddenly I don’t miss the holiday celebrations so much
When I think of the miracle of Jesus’s birth, truthfully, I don’t miss the holiday celebrations quite so much. Yes, I miss being with loved ones, the decorations, and Oh, how I miss the midnight carol services of my childhood with my parents.
And yet, my Savior, my Messiah, my Lord – He was really born, in the flesh for me! Do you feel it? The awe of this perfect baby, a miracle baby, whose future was already determined from the moment of His birth. He would become a servant of servants to save us, to bring us into communion with the awesome God of Creation and give us the right to call Him Father!
What kind of love is this?
Wherever you are, whatever your situation, don’t every lose sight of the hope we have because of God demonstrating His love for us in such an amazingly outrageous manner – to give His Son to die for us.
Most Jewish people are offended to think that God could limit Himself into human form, that God could be willing to die a very physical death… and yet this is what He did for us, through Jesus our Savior, whose birth we celebrate.
May these thoughts encourage you this Christmas.
I hope you enjoy this short video about one of the shepherds who worshipped Jesus. May it bless you as it has me.